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Ouija – A Fun Way to Kill Your Evening

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With Halloween a week away, it's time to break out the season's horror movies. Ouija follows in the footsteps of Wes Craven, delivering an ensemble of attractive young people who will make terrible life choices and be mercilessly picked off. But first, they have to walk around an artfully decorated suburban house…in the dark…with no adult supervision.Photo: bloody-disgusting.com

Shelley Hennig (The Secret Circle) plays Debbie, who has been playing with an Ouija board. And when you start playing with an Ouija board, bad things start to happen. Laine (Olivia Cooke) who used to play Ouija with Debbie when they were kids, tries to figure out how the board fits into the mayhem. Their boyfriends Pete (Douglas Smith) and Trevor (Daren Kagasoff) try to be supportive of Laine’s plan, but quickly begin to regret it.

First time director Stiles White, who is also one of the credited writers along with Juliet Snowden, skillfully misdirects. He faked out the audience at the screening (as they nervously laughed) before the film delivers a few good scares. He also takes his time, letting the kids ineptly deal with things before ratcheting up the violence.

Without giving too much away, Ouija relies heavily on classic horror tropes. The teens are fairly boring characters, and it’s hard to understand what’s motivated Debbie to pick up the planchette in the first place. As they start meeting their grim fates, they aren't missed.

The biggest challenge with Ouija is the lack of passion – it’s oddly flat. There’s not a teen love scene or a smartass retort to liven things up. The story would have benefitted from some humor, which provided a nice counterpoint in the Scream series, or Cabin in the Woods. The denouement is a bit predictable, but of course leaves room for a sequel.

This is another short flick, clocking in at 89 minutes. Rather mild horror movie gore, but the camera doesn't linger.


 

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com

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Photo: bloody-disgusting.com